The Ulster University Business School provides opportunities for PhD study on a full-time and part-time basis in a range of topic areas linked to the Faculty’s research strategy. Studying for a PhD offers researchers the opportunity to research in depth a range of business and management topics at an advanced level. Completion of a PhD typically takes three years on a full-time basis and six years on a part-time basis. Over 50 full time and part time PhD Researchers are currently registered for PhD programmes in the Business School.
Before submitting an application, prospective applicants are asked to note the research areas available for PhD study highlighted here and to make contact with the named staff who may be able to provide supervision in their area of expertise. All applications must include a detailed research proposal.
The University welcomes applicants interested in researching accounting and finance, SME marketing, digital marketing, food marketing, entrepreneurship, SME internationalisation, tourism, retailing, supply chain management, innovation, human resource management, and operations.
In the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework (REF), Ulster University Business School had 98% of its research recognised as international in terms of originality, significance and rigour. This placed the Business School in the top quartile of UK universities for research and 7th in the UK for research impact. Since 2016 UUBS has been affiliated to the Nine Doctoral Training Partnerships and the Economic and Research Council (ESRC DTP) initiative with Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Queen’s, Sunderland, and Teesside universities. Being part of this initiative means that we are able to apply for funding from the ESRC, which is the UK's leading research funding and training agency in the area of the social sciences, for high quality PhD projects that are specifically linked to the expertise of our supervisors. ESRC recognition means that the agency recognises not only the high quality of the PhD programmes offered by the UUBS but also that the support and training offered to PhD Researchers by the Faculty and the University is highly effective.
Another indicator of the satisfaction of our current PhD Researchers is reflected in the latest results from the 2018 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) where our PhD Researchers highlighted very high satisfaction levels (87% overall satisfaction). This recognition shows that our facilities, procedures and practices are up to the high standards that they expect.
Research facilities and groups
All full-time PhD students are provided with a desk in a shared space and a personal laptop.
PhD supervision is available within the research groups listed below.
Accounting and Finance
Within accounting and finance the group focuses on efficiency and performance measurement and the analysis of structural change in the financial sector. Current areas of research include: public sector accounting; charity accounting; performance measurement in NFPOs; banks and credit unions as well as other Corporate Social Responsibility and Organisational Governance issues.
Research interests fall into two main areas:
(i) SMEs with emphasis on the marketing/entrepreneurship interface; and
(ii) the ‘front’ end of the marketing channel, the point of contact between retailer and consumer. Current areas of research include small firms’ marketing theory and practice; SME internationalization; marketing communications; services marketing; SME marketing; qualitative research methodology; factors influencing the performance of SMEs; innovation; knowledge management; strategic marketing; decision- making in entrepreneurial firms; networking as a marketing competency; the role of the Internet in entrepreneurial firms’ marketing; strategy and international business; financial services marketing; internet marketing; direct marketing; public sector marketing; bank marketing; customer marketing; internet banking; motivation for foreign direct investment; customer value and competitive value.
Operations and Contemporary Organisational Issues
This group has consolidated its work in the development and application of quantitative and systems based ideas and models. A major interest for members of the group has developed around the implications for a range of organisations of the total quality management philosophy. This is reflected in research work that is focused on supply management and business process improvement. Current areas of research include: electronic commerce and the role of intermediaries, the outsourcing decision-making process, supplier development strategies, early supplier involvement in the design process, supply chain dynamics, public sector procurement and knowledge/innovation management assessment tools.
The research of this group also covers a wide spectrum of contemporary issues linked to the management of human resources within the private and public sectors. The areas researched include, future of work issues, labour economics, gender and equality issues, employee relations, Strategic HRM and employee involvement and participation.
Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.
In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.
Additional information for International applicants may be found here.
English language requirements
In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.
Full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found here.
Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.
The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.
Fees and funding
Details of tuition fees can be found under the fees schedule for the academic year of entry.
To work out for which fees you would be eligible and to find out more information about potential sources of funding, please view the Fees and Funding pages on the Doctoral College website.
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies. Full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application, is available here.
Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.
Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.
- Professor Joan Ballantine
- Professor Anne-Marie Ward
- Dr Stuart Henderson
- Mr Anthony Wall
- Dr Esmond Birnie
- Dr Peter Bolan
- Professor Stephen Boyd
- Dr Laura Bradley-Mc Cauley
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- Dr Judith McKnight
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- Dr Hadyn Bennett